A Greaseman Biography
"The Greaseman" was born Doug Tracht in Bronx, New York, on August 1st, 1950. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and went to Ithaca College in New York from 1968-1972, majoring in Broadcasting. He worked at the college radio station and several other local stations where he developed the on-air character known as "The Greaseman" (or just "Grease") after a co-worker commented that he was "cooking with grease!". At WENE, a station servicing Binghamton, he met and later married the receptionist named Marie. After college, he got work as a DJ almost immediately at WAXC in Rochester. The legend was just beginning...
After Rochester, he got his first exposure to the Washington, DC market at WRC, known as "The Great 98". The "Greaseman" character was an outlet for him to be weird and wacky and to really let his creativity flow. This unique personality appealed to many listeners, but not to all station management. When WRC asked him to drop the character in 1975 or leave, he opted to leave, but he picked right up again with the Greaseman character on WPOP in Hartford, CT. But when WPOP went all-news, Grease landed at WAPE in Jacksonville, FL, AKA "The Big Ape". While his career began to flourish, his wife Marie got tired of all the moves and their marriage ended.
While DJ'ing in Jacksonville, he worked briefly as a police officer in order to make extra money, which later became the inspiration for one of his recurring characters -- the 'Lawman'. When Howard Stern was fired from DC/101 in 1982, Grease returned to D.C. to take over the morning slot, and he maintained the #1 rating. He became quite the celebrity in D.C. with his many publicity stunts, including his supposedly running for President in 1984. He developed a relationship with Redskin Dexter Manley, who joined him on-air for regular sports updates until he was sent to jail for drug offenses.
While on-air as The Greaseman, he tells elaborate stories and jokes usually with himself as the central character, and voices his opinions about people and events in the news, often taking them to rude, crude and violent extremes for the sake of entertainment. His intended audience is the same "god-fearing, truck-driving redneck" he acts out himself. His intelligence and unique wit have helped to attract a loyal fan base who can relate to his views and appreciate his somewhat extreme humor. A large part of this humor is a sexist and politically incorrect attitude that may offend many people, but Grease has developed a collection of "code" words to describe certain acts and body parts in order to get around the limitations of the FCC's broadcasting standards and to go over the heads of children.
In real life, Doug Tracht is a very private person, very different from his on-air personality. He has granted few interviews of his true self, opting to stay in-character for most public exposure. One notable exception is a feature article & interview Grease and his wife did for the December '94 issue of Penthouse magazine. Grease has also moonlighted as an actor on several occasions. He has appeared in several Jack Reed made-for-TV movies, and joined the cast of the play "The Last Session" in L.A. during the summer of 1996 which drew rave reviews.
In 1993 he left DC/101 to launch a syndicated radio show with the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, much to the chagrin of fellow Infinity radio personality Howard Stern. He moved his base of operations to Culver City, CA, near Los Angeles. In 1995 he teamed up with a co-host named Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-uh), based at the Atlanta affiliate Z93 studios. The co-host format never took off, though, and with falling ratings Z93 stopped carrying the Greaseman Show in 1996, and Marcia's duties were severed as well. While the show dropped out of other large markets like Los Angeles and New York City, it temporarily expanded into other new markets, including Grease's old stomping ground of Jacksonville, FL. Then in May 1997 the Washington D.C. classic rock station WARW-FM offered the Grease Show the morning time slot and the Greaseman was on a plane the next week to return to D.C.
After his stint at WARW, Grease made several stand-up appearances at D.C./Maryland-area nightclubs, much to the delight of his strong local followers. But his aim was always to get back on the air, and he made that happen on March 5, 2001. The Grease Show returned to syndication on several stations, and for the first time the show was available worldwide over the Internet. In November, 2001, Grease won a Washington Achievement In Radio (AIR) Award for "Best morning drive show". In July, 2002, Grease found a new flagship station in Washington, D.C.: WGOP, at 700AM, while still syndicating the show to stations around the country. In May, 2004, Grease traveled to Israel to do a week of shows in what he's called the "Grease For Peace Tour". He gave his American audience a lighter look at Israel through interviews with comedians, club owners and nighttime television personalities.
In October, 2005, a larger station came calling, and soon The Grease Show could be heard on WMET 1160AM. This broadened Grease's coverage in the DC area due to WMET's 50,000 watt signal. Two years later, however, WMET changed ownership and The Grease Show was a casualty. In March, 2008, Grease's old stomping grounds DC/101 gave him a call and invited him to do a Saturday morning show. Six months later, his even older stomping grounds of Jacksonville came calling and he signed on to do the afternoon drive show on Rock105. In August, 2010, Rock105 decided to go in another direction and dropped The Grease Show despite its great ratings. Grease vows to find a new place to shriek sooner or later. He's lovin' life and hopes to be back in action soon!
Copyright © 1996-2011 Steve Olsen
Disclaimer: This is not a "definitive" biography -- it is a collection of facts that I have compiled from several reliable sources including the Greaseman FAQ, the alt.fan.greaseman Newsgroup, the Grease Show's producer Bill Scanlan, several magazine and television profiles, and from Grease's mouth himself.